Register a Boat in Iowa

Before you purchase and register a boat, it is recommended that you sign up for a boat safety course in order to earn your Iowa Watercraft Safety Certificate (often incorrectly referred to as an Iowa boating license). The Watercraft Safety Certificate is proof that you have passed a boating safety course and know the laws for boating.

Register Your Boat

IOWA BOATING LAWS AND REGULATIONS

If you plan to operate a boat in Iowa, it is important that you know and understand the boating rules of the road. Every boater who uses the waterways is responsible for safe navigation and taking action necessary to avoid accidents. Remember to practice good seamanship, be aware of what is around you and maintain a safe distance from other vessels.

IT’S NOT A FEE, IT’S A CONTRIBUTION

Your boat registration serves as documentation to prove that you are the rightful owner of a vessel. There are registration fees that you will need to pay when you register your boat; however, these fees are used by the state to help sustain our natural resources and promote responsible boating.

IOWA BOAT REGISTRATION INFORMATION

  • All machine-operated vessels need to be registered and issued a certificate of number in order to legally operate on Iowa waterways. Always be sure to keep your boat registration paperwork and title or proof of ownership on board.
  • Vessels registered in Iowa, must display their current registration decals and the issued registration numbers provided by the County Recorder.
  • All Iowa boat registrations expire April 30th of the renewal year.